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Understanding DC to DC Chargers for Camper Trailers

You have probably encountered DC-DC Chargers when researching Dual Battery Systems or Camper Trailer Power Systems. With so many different options available, you might wonder “What exactly do they do?” and “Why do I need a DC-DC Charger?”

How do camper trailer batteries charge?

When traveling, your camper trailer can be charged by your car’s battery. This can be accomplished by installing a 50 Amp Anderson Plug near the tow bar and wiring it to the car’s battery.

Platinum Camper Trailer’s batteries are connected to a 50 amp Anderson plug that is mounted at the front of the trailer. 

As soon as the Camper Trailer is connected to the car via the Anderson plug, a link is formed between the car’s battery and the Camper Trailer’s batteries. As soon as you start your car, the alternator will kick in and charge the car battery, which in turn charges the Camper Trailer battery

Do I need a DC to DC Charger? And What do they do?

Well, it depends – mainly on how you use your camper trailer. 

Modern cars have systems such as ‘Smart Charge’ where they reduce the voltage output of the alternator when the car warms up or it detects that the car’s main battery is at a certain voltage. Or if you have upgraded to lithium batteries – they are required, as the car’s alternator cannot put out the required charging profile. 

Alternators aren’t designed to charge multiple batteries at once. Basically, they are there to recharge the starter battery so that the next time you turn on the car, there will be enough battery charge for the start.

Even though the Camper Trailer battery will receive a charge, it won’t be able to charge it back to 100%. If you normally camp at powered campsites, where you have 240v and a charger, this might not be too much of an issue – as the power provided by the car will be enough to keep the fridge running while in transit. 

On the other hand – if you usually camp off-grid, or a little bit of both, relying on batteries and solar power – then a DC to DC Charger would be a great investment for your future adventures. 

How do they work?

DC to DC Chargers are designed to isolate your camper trailer battery management system from the vehicle’s alternator. The DC to DC Charger picks up the car’s charge, regardless of the voltage output, using a charging system to boost and maximise the charging capacity. With this setup, the vehicle will be able to charge your batteries to the full 100%. 

A lot of DC to DC Chargers, including the Thunder DC to DC Charger, one of the options we install into Platinum Campers will also include an inbuilt solar regulator. This will allow you to attach unregulated solar panels to your camper – and the charger will continue to charge and manage the input to the camper’s batteries. 

If you leave your camper plugged into the tow vehicle battery and a solar panel – the Thunder DC to DC Charger can automatically select engine or solar charging to find the most efficient charging source for the Camper.

So – How does it all improve your camping experience? 
A good quality DC to DC Charger has a huge number of benefits: longer off-grid camping, safer charging source, and a regulated input – which will extend the life of your camper trailer battery. 

Questions?

Still have questions? Shoot us a message or give us a call and we would be more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding DC to DC Chargers, Power Management Systems and Platinum Campers. 

Drive Safe & Happy Camping!